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Declining spending on residential phone service

Cutting the cord by going mobile

The FRED Blog has compared mobile cellular subscriptions across countries, highlighting the rapid adoption of that communication technology in some developing economies. Here, we revisit the idea of “going mobile” by comparing it with its counterpart of “cutting the cord” (i.e., landline phone service).

The FRED graph above shows data from the Consumer Expenditure Survey conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The purple area represents consumer spending on cellular phone services as a percentage of total consumer spending on telephone services. The green area represents the percentage of spending on residential landline phone service, voice over internet protocol (VOIP), and phone cards.

The available data show a gradual change in spending patterns from landline phone service toward mobile phone service between 2013 and 2020. The longer-running trend of “cutting the cord on landlines” is described by Brett Creech.

Speaking of phone lines… Did you know that FRED was launched 31 years ago as a free electronic bulletin board of economic data that users could access via modems connected to personal computers through phone landlines? By 1995, FRED was on the world wide web and anybody could access it through the internet.

How this graph was created: Search for and select “Expenditures: Residential Phone Service, VOIP, and Phone Cards: All Consumer Units.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, use the “Add Line” tab to search for and select “Expenditures: Cellular Phone Service: All Consumer Units.” Next, from the “Format” panel, select “Graph type: Area” and “Stacking: Percent.”

Suggested by Diego Mendez-Carbajo.

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